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There is a select but fairly lengthy general list of seedsmen elsewhere on this site; this page is a tabulation of sources for the particular vegetable cultivars we recommend on this site. (We do not here include suppliers of live plant material--herbs, fruits, berries--at least not yet.)
(Note that if you are fortunate enough to have a local supplier--whether seed house or just neighborhood hardware store--that carries seed for any of the cultivars in question--and many are fairly common--you should support that local supplier by buying there. That also, of course, helps save on postage.)
Let us be clear here: this is very definitely not a comprehensive list of all seedsmen who carry any of our recommended cultivars. It is not even a comprehensive list of such seedsmen out of our "select list" of seedsmen (on the page linked above). Rather, it is a list of suppliers restricted to the few seedsmen that we found it optimum to order from for all of the vegetable cultivars we list and recommend. We here list them and offer a few comments on each, so you will understand how we came to select these few, and why we think ordering from them is your best bet.
(This listing is for seed only: it does not include herb, berry, or fruit plants; we hope to add those soon.)
Also note that these lists do not include suppliers of things we ourselves are not going to be putting in this season--such as artichokes or cardoon or rhubard--because we haven't put in the time to locate suppliers for those.
You can get the complete Fedco story straight from the horse's mouth, but the highlights are these. First, Fedco is a cooperative, not a business in the ordinary sense, and, as they say, therefore "profit is not our primary goal." Second, and deriving from the first, is that their prices are very low by comparison with virtually every other supplier; while a dollar here or there may not sound like much, when you add up a complete order for a substantial vegetable garden, the difference is strikingly non-trivial. Third, and again derived from first, Fedco is punctilious about what kinds and quality of seeds they carry; they are not averse to carrying hybrids, but everything is plainly labelled and there is a definite preference for open-pollinated and even organically grown seed (they often make both standard and OG available for a given cultivar, the OG being only slightly more expensive). Fourth, and especially helpful to us, they are, as they say, "your source for cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate." [emphasis in original]
So what's not to like? Unless you live in the deep south--and perhaps even then--Fedco should be your first choice for any vegetable type they carry; with us, it's to the point that we will even consider changing our choice of a cultivar if Fedco doesn't have it but does have a more or less fungible type that they recommend. We can scarcely say how important and wonderful it is to find a major seedsman whose recommendations you can trust to be meaningful and valid.
It is hard to over-state the importance of the work that this non-profit organization is doing toward preserving our heritage of edible foodstuffs types. SSE is an organization, but it is also a huge society of dedicated member seed growers and preservers who make a plethora of often rare and unusual vegetable (and herb and fruit) varieties available to one another through the annual SSE Yearbook. You can read more about this wonderful organization direct from them, though their modest little statement doesn't begin to really emphasize their importance.
The retail operation that we link to above is a sort of sideline of the SSE farm, whose proceeds help support SSE and its work. Their prices are not low, but are typical of what commercial seed houses charge, and when buying from them you not only know you're getting good seed of varieties selected with care, but that you're helping support an excellent and important project.
We recommend that all serious--and, we suppose, even casual--vegetable gardeners become members. (But you do not need to be a member to buy from the retail site linked above.) Membership information is available on line at their site. (There is also a related but separate Flower and Herb Exchange.)
This is another important non-profit organization. Bountiful Gardens is a division of Ecology Action, an organization founded by John Jeavons, whose vegetable-gardening guidebook we heartily recommend; its general mission is food-crop research and perhaps above all teaching--EA "teaches people in 130 countries around the world to grow food and build soil with less work, water, and energy by natural methods." You can read more about Bountiful Gardens and Ecology Action direct from their site.
BG's prices are reasonable and their selections, especially of some now-rare cultivars, often unique. They are a good place to buy from, for many reasons.
While Turtle Tree is nominally a commercial supplier, they are dedicated seed preservers who work closely with larger suppliers and with universities (notably Cornell) to conserve and develop open-pollinated seed for important edible crops. Quoting from a Cornell datasheet for a conference held at Turtle Tree, "The company is located in Copake, NY (approximately 100 miles north of NYC) within the Camphill Village community. The community supports approximately 230 individuals, including many developmentally disabled adults who contribute to the community through farming, gardening, and producing crafts."
We did not select Turtle Tree (or any supplier here) because they are "good guys"--that was a pleasant extra. We selected them because for some wanted cultivars, they were one of few sources--or, in some cases--the only source--to be found. But it's nice to know that ordering from them is a feel-good experience.
This is really, in effect, two companies in one: "Irish Eyes", a potato supplier (cute name, hm?), and Garden City Seed, a seedsman. "Irish Eyes" has a heritage that runs back to the original (and famous) Roninger's. The site has a great deal of information on growing (and using) potatoes, as well as a large variety of seed potatoes, and also garlics.
They are a nice place to shop, but of especial importance to us, and those similarly situated (in the literal sense), they are in our exact climate region, being just a couple of hours' drive to the west of us, in the "Inland Empire" portion of eastern Washington State. That means that their cultivar selections, and their actual seed, will be particularly well-suited for use in our--and likely your--garden.
Johnny's is a large commercial operation based in Maine. In recent years, their catalogue has moved heavily to hybrids, but they remain the sole source for a good number of useful and wanted cultivars, notably in the lettuces department (they have pretty well moved into the role of lettuce specialist that fell open when The Cook's Garden was sold by its founders).
Johnny's prices are far from low, but they have an excellent reputation for seed quality, as well as customer service, and their catalogue is chock-full of legitimately practical and helpful growing advice, advice that is far more exact than the usual glib nonsense one finds in most seedsmen's catalogues
This is another wholly commercial operation that tilts heavily toward hybrids, but there's no escaping the fact that they are an excellent central source of high repute for an awful lot of tomato (and pepper and eggplant) cultivars, including some hard-to-find heirloom types. As a one-stop-shopping resource in their niche, they're very handy.
For this year, at any rate, the houses shown above suffice, between them, to supply all the cultivars we recommend. But our opinions change from time to time as newer varieties come available, or as new information or trials come to light, so it behooves us to keep in mind some other fine suppliers, seedsmen to whom we would willingly turn did we need something only they had. For such lists, check our page on Vegetable-Seed & Fruit/Berry Sellers On The Web.
A "reverse list"--by seed house that is--follows this table.
|Jersey Giant||Jersey Asparagus Farms|
|Sieva, lima||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Fortex, "filet"||Turtle Tree|
|Kentucky Wonder, shellie||Fedco|
|Kwintus (Early Riser), romano||Turtle Tree|
|Painted Lady, runner||Bountiful Gardens|
|Scarlet Emperor, runner||Fedco|
|Black Coco, shellie||Fedco|
|Black Kabuli, garbanzo||Fedco|
|Jacob's Cattle, shellie||Fedco|
|Indian Woman Yellow, shellie||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Thorogreen, lima||Bountiful Gardens|
|Envy, soy (edamame)||Bountiful Gardens|
|DeCicco, sprouting||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Green Goliath, maincrop||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Red Express||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Tonda da Pirigi||Fedco|
|Poona Kheera, round||Fedco|
|Super Zagross, beit alpha||Fedco|
|Ping Tung Long, Oriental||Turtle Tree|
|cress: Wrinkled, Crinkled||Fedco|
|corn salad: Large-Leaf||Fedco|
|corn salad: Verte de Lambrai||Fedco|
|basil: Genovese, flat-leaf||Fedco|
|chervil: Brussels Winter Vertissimo||Johnny's|
|dill: Fernleaf, weed||Fedco|
|summer savory: Aromata||Johnny's|
|Bleu de Solaize||Fedco|
|Ben Shemen, green||Bountiful Gardens|
|Red Sails, red||Fedco|
|Jericho, green||Turtle Tree|
|Cimmaron, red||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Early Hanover||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Minnesota Midget||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Noir des Carmes||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Petit Gris de Rennes||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Australian Brown, yellow/brown||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Clear Dawn, yellow/brown||Fedco|
|Gigante d'Italia, flat-leaf||Fedco|
|Golden Cal Wonder, yellow||Tomato Grower's Supply|
|Sunrise Orange, orange||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Corno di Toro Yellow||Tomato Grower's Supply|
|Italian Frying||Irish Eyes/Garden City|
|Giant Anacongua||Tomato Grower's Supply|
|Evergreen White Hardy||Fedco|
|Noir de Russie||Fedco|
|Benning's Green Tint, pattypan||Fedco|
|Aker's West Virginia, red||Tomato Grower's Supply|
|Matina, red, early||Tomato Grower's Supply|
|Kellogg's Breakfast, yellow||Seed Savers Exchange|
|Opalka||Seed Savers Exchange|
A "straight list"--by vegetable/cultivar that is--precedes this table.
|bean, bush||Black Coco|
|bean, bush||Black Kabuli|
|bean, bush||Jacob's Cattle|
|bean, pole||Kentucky Wonder|
|bean, runner||Scarlet Emperor|
|carrot||Tonda da Pirigi|
|chard, Swiss||Bright Lights|
|fennel, Florence||Zefa Fino|
|green: corn salad||Large-Leaf Round|
|green: corn salad||Verte de Cambrai|
|green: cress||Wrinkled, Crinkled|
|green: miners lettuce (claytonia)||Miners Lettuce|
|herb, dill. weed||Fernleaf|
|leek||Bleu de Solaize|
|lettuce, looseleaf, red||Red Sails|
|pepper, frying,||Jimmy Nardello's|
|scallions||Evergreen White Hardy|
|scorzonera||Noir de Russie|
|squash, pattypan||Benning's Green Tint|
|Irish Eyes / Garden City|
|bean, dry||Indian Woman Yellow|
|lettuce, romaine, red||Cimmaron|
|pepper, frying||Italian Frying|
|pepper, sweet||Sunrise Orange Bell|
|Seed Savers Exchange|
|melon||Noir des Carmes|
|melon||Petit Gris de Rennes|
|bean, runner||Painted Lady|
|lettuce, butterhead, green||Ben Shemen|
|bean, pole||Kwintus (Early Riser)|
|eggplant||Ping Tung Long|
|lettuce, romaine, green||Jericho|
|Tomato Grower's Supply|
|pepper, bell, gold||Golden Cal Wonder|
|pepper, frying||Corno di Toro Yellow|
|pepper, sweet||Giant Anacongua|
|tomato, beefstake||Aker's West Virginia|
|herb: chervil||Brussels Winter, Vertissimo|
|herb: shiso||Shiso, green|
|herb: summer savory||Summer Savory, Aromata|
|lettuce, Batavian, green||Nevada|
|lettuce, Batavian, red||Magenta|
|lettuce, looseleaf, green||Tropicana|
|lettuce, butterhead, red||Fireball|
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